Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, are to face trial on August 3 on charges of ordering the killing of protesters and fraud, a judicial source told AFP Wednesday.
The trio will be tried by the North Cairo criminal court and the hearing will be presided by Judge Ahmed Rifat, the source said.
Businessman Hussein Salem, a close associate of the Mubaraks, is to face trial on the same date on the same charges, the source said.
Mubarak has been in custody in hospital since April 13 after reportedly suffering a heart attack during questioning about the killing of anti-regime protesters and fraud.
The spectacular fall of one of the region’s most powerful leaders after 18 days of nationwide anti-regime protests was followed by repeated calls for him to be tried.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took power when Mubarak was ousted on February 11, has vowed to bring to justice all those found guilty of abuse, but has been criticised for its handling of the transitional phase.
A senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, perhaps the country’s best organised political movement, said fixing a trial date for Mubarak showed justice appeared to be running its course.
“It’s a good development, it dots the i’s and crosses the t’s,” said Essam al-Erian. It “assures people that justice will take its course,” he added.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in Washington that she hoped Mubarak would get a fair trial.
“We want to see appropriate due process and procedures followed in anyone’s trial and particularly in such a highly charged trial as that will certainly be,” she said.
The murder charges may lead to a death sentence if he is found guilty, the justice minister said earlier this month.
Mubarak’s security chief Habib al-Adly has already been sentenced to 12 years in jail for corruption and faces another trial on charges of ordering the shootings of demonstrators.
An official inquiry found at least 846 people were killed in the protests, many of them from gunshot wounds. At least 6,000 were injured.
The trial date of August 3 coincides with Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.
But there were mixed reports over the location of the trial.
On Wednesday, a judicial source told the state-owned Al-Ahram it would take place in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where Mubarak is under hospital arrest, and not in Cairo “for security reasons.”
He said a Cairo trial would be dangerous “considering the feelings of hate towards Mubarak which increase day by day,” the source said.
The Mubaraks have also been charged with profiteering and using their positions for illicit gains and squandering public funds.
Former first lady Suzanne Mubarak was released this month after she returned assets to the government. She is suspected of corruption.
The former leader, who ruled Egypt for three decades, was hospitalised in mid-April after reportedly suffering a heart attack during questioning and his detention has been extended regularly since.
On Tuesday, the public prosecutor said Mubarak was too ill to be moved from hospital to prison, following a series of statements in recent weeks by the military council saying they were preparing for his transfer.
The 83-year-old is said to be suffering from “episodes of unconsciousness due to circulatory problems and low blood pressure,” the statement said.
He also suffers “an irregular heartbeat which could lead to a sudden heart attack,” it added.
Mubarak is described as “generally weak and depressed, and he has trouble getting out of bed without help.”
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Mubarak’s lawyer said the former president was in “very bad health.”
“The president has serious heart problems and complications with his stomach from the operation he had in Germany last year,” Farid El Deeb said.